PSE TAC 15/15i, 10/10i Crossbow Review
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The scope that PSE offers, and that I used during the crossbow article review field work, is ideally suited to the long range capability of the TAC 15 crossbow. It is an Accushot scope with 6 mildots above and 6 below. My calculations indicate the drop needed to get from a 30 yard target out to a 120 yard target is about 124 MOA. If the scope is set on 3 power, when zeroing with the top mildot at 30 yards, the bottom mildot will be on at somewhere around a 120 yard target. I have so far found no other mildot scope with that much drop.
Here is the drop data. Note that I have not yet shot out past 100 yards to confirm those drops.
I don’t feel that dialing a turret for different yardages will work as there would be too many revolutions involved even if a scope had enough capacity to do that.
The PSE TAC 15 Series provides the ability to replace the factory trigger with a custom trigger. My tiny groups on the first days were shot with the factory trigger with its fairly stiff pull weight of 7 pounds. But since I am used to a low pull weight trigger on all my rifles, I installed a 3 pound Timney trigger on my crossbow and now its pull will be consistent with that of my rifles.
In writing this review article I knew that a 406 foot per second crossbow needs a good target to prevent pass through and still provide for easy removal from the target without damaging the pricey arrows. I started out purchasing an otherwise good bag target that, in fairness, wasn’t really designed for this velocity. Quickly I switched to the Morrell Bone Collector line of targets and have been completely satisfied. My first was the Morrell Bone Collector Outdoor Range target because of its large size. I thought I may need its larger target size for shooting in the wind. Wrong, not necessary!
Wind deflection study @ 100 yards -- Morrell Bone Collector 400 FPS target
The one I am now using is the Morrell Bone Collector 400 FPS target. More compact, the Morrell Bone Collector 400 FPS target is cubical in shape with many target face choices. Both of the Morrell Bone Collector targets easily stopped hyper-fast arrows and I was able to pull them out safely using just 3 fingers.
When practicing on the Morrell Bone Collector 400 FPS target with this laser ray of a crossbow I learned the hard way that at less than 70 yards I need to shoot multiple arrows at individual dots unless I want to keep the PSE arrow makers on overtime making me replacements.
Individual dots for practice @ 70 yards - Morrell Bone Collector Target.
Get the best broadhead target you can find. It is cheap insurance that you not damage arrows that go too deep and wreck vanes. My current one is the Block Crossbow Target. I am very happy with it.
For a quiver I went with a hip style and chose the Tarantula MAQ model. With it I can sit or even crawl without the quiver getting tangled up. I found this feature to be critical out west last month. It will also hang easily in a tree stand back home.
Get the best broadhead target you can find. It is cheap insurance that you not damage arrows that go too deep and wreck vanes. My current one is the Block Black Crossbow CB-16. I am very happy with it.
PSE offers the TAC series crossbow in the TAC 15/10 version that fits onto your own AR15 lower. It takes “30 seconds from bang to twang” when converting your AR15 rifle to a TAC 15/10 crossbow.
Up until now I had shot only field tips but I have just chosen my broadheads.The Steel Force Phat Head broadhead is a short, sharp, compact broadhead made by Steel Force and it flies extremely well.
The Phat Head appealed to me because the folks at PSE have had good luck with it and because it just looks like it would fly well and kill stuff easily at long ranges.
So yesterday morning I shot with them. I used the same arrow for each shot so I could eliminate any variables in my accuracy test and review.
The following are the group sizes I got, each group was 2 shots. "Same hole" means the cutting edges of the blade from each shot overlapped each other since the 2 shots impacted so close to each other.
- 30 YARDS same hole
- 50 YARDS same hole
- 70 YARDS 1.5 inches
- 80 YARDS 2 inches
- 90 YARDS 2 inches
- 100 YARDS same hole
In addition, the 100 grain Phat Head broadheads impacted only 2 inches lower at 100 yards than the 85 grain field tips.
I am done searching for a good broadhead. I'll be shooting the Phat Head at deer in Wyoming out to about 100 yards this fall.
Also offered is the TAC 15i/10i version which comes with an integral or integrated PSE provided lower. I chose the latter version in the full size and velocity TAC 15i designation. The TAC 10/10i has 50 FPS less velocity and is a little bit shorter.
Only a few minor negatives come to mind. The TAC 15i is a little front heavy but this is not a significant factor. The crank has a ratcheting sound but it is very easy to totally silence by simply depressing a lever when in a hunting situation. I have had some issues with the fletching. There has been a tendency for the leading edge of some vanes to come lose in flight. I have returned some to PSE so their tech staff can evaluate the cause. A more substantial hand hold under the lower rail would be nice. But all in all, a remarkably well designed and built tool.
I will be deer hunting hard with my new PSE TAC 15i crossbow this fall in the Big Horns of northern Wyoming. In fact, in a few days I head out there for another scouting trip. This crossbow will do for the archer what a flat shooting cartridge in a precison rifle does for the long range rifle hunter. It is going to set a new archery hunting accuracy standard for years.
Len Backus is the owner of www.LongRangeHunting.com. He has been a long range hunter for over 10 years and is as likely to bag his game with a camera as with a rifle or a specialty handgun. His outdoor photography can be seen at LenBackus.com
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